Friday, October 29, 2010

Cats and pumpkins - who knew?

Courtesy of Big Cat Rescue - big cats celebrate Halloween!

Maybe I should get Sophie a miniature pumpkin.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Awesome Halloween card from the parents

It's like taking candy from a baby.

HalloweenCardInside: A little Halloween Advice - Don't let the Democrats take your candy.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kings win on and off ice


Last night's L.A. Kings/Colorado Avalanche game was also host to the first ever NHL Twitter Hashtag Battle as part of the NHL's Hockey Fights Cancer Campaign.  Each team had selected a beneficiary (for the Kings it was Childrens Hospital Los Angeles) and pledged $1 per hashtagged tweet from fans during the game.

By the time the game ended with a 6-4 victory for the Kings, fanatically tweeting Kings fans had racked up almost 30,000 tweets, totally smoking the Avs fans and earning $29,374 for the hospital in the time it took to play a hockey game.

We absolutely destroyed the Twitternetz.  In addition to dominating the Avs fans, we also got #GoKings trending at #1 worldwide.  From the KIngs website:
Hashtag Battle:

Final score:
: 29,374
: 13,876
The Kings were also the #1 trending topic WORLDWIDE for the majority of tonight's game. That bested UFC, which had two fights tonight/all their fighters, and bigger than Kanye West and his short film "Runaway," which debuted worldwide at 6 p.m., the same start time as our game.
The Kings added close to 1,000 Twitter followers during the battle.
Of course I took a screenshot:

For you non-Twitter types, on the left are some of the wonderful Kings fans who helped relieve Uncle Phil of almost $30k.  The Trending column is on the right.

The #GoAvs hashtag never trended.  Next time, we demand more worthy opponents!  Either that or Ducks fans.

Also, congratulations to the Kings' Brad Richardson on his first career hat trick!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Review: I Want Your Money

Iwantyourmoney "The stimulus is one of the great hoaxes of all time."

Caught I Want Your Money this week.  Oddly, it wasn't playing anywhere in Hollywood or the City of L.A.  Go figure.  Luckily, I was in the Valley running errands anyway (hello entertainment-based credit union that doesn't actually have a branch in Hollywood!) and I was able to catch it playing in an eerily deserted mall in Burbank.

Entertaining, educational and terrifying, I Want Your Money takes a complex and convoluted topic - our national debt - and explains not only what it means to us and to generations to come in an easy to understand breakdown, but also how it happened, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Barack Hussein Obama.  The film uses a combination of interviews interspersed with historical footage and animated politicians (including Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, both George Bushes, and both Clintons) to help explain the insanity of our current debt.  Forget An Inconvenient Truth - I Want Your Money is the film that should be shown in schools and should be required viewing for every adult in America, or at least every adult who cares about America.

According to the film, President Reagan got it.  Cut taxes so the people could keep their hard earned money and feel free to spend it, energizing the economy, but also - and this is equally important - control spending.  Under Reagan, this two-pronged approach was wildly successful.  Years later, when President Clinton veered off this course during the first two years of his administration, he was rewarded in 1994 by the people with a Republican Congress and the sense to move to a more center positiion.  When George Bush moved into the White House, he appeared to get it half right, slashing taxes but failing to control spending.  Part of this was due to the wars that followed 9/11, which were going to be necessarily expensive, but the point is he left office with a massive deficit.  A deficit which, despite Barack Obama's bleatings about the mess he inherited, has multiplied in the less than two years since he assumed office (but for which he seems reluctant to assume responsibility).  Combine our massive national debt with financially crippling entitlement programs and the current administration's determination to force redistribution of wealth on the American taxpayer and you have a complete disaster, where the country is in seemingly insurmountable debt and those that work the hardest are expected to foot the bill for those that can't or won't with no say in the process thanks to arrogant politicians who seem to view the public as nothing more than an ATM to be used and abused at their whim.

The intelligent, common sense talking heads include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Republican California Governor Pete Wilson (who vacated his office in 1999 with a $16 billion surplus that his Democract successor Gray Davis quickly burned through before being recalled and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger), Mike Huckabee, Steve Forbes, Andrew Breitbart and Michigan Congressman Thad McCotter, a personal favorite of mine from his appearances on Red Eye thanks to his droll combination of sheer common sense and a quietly wicked sense of humor.  How someone like McCotter can stand to spend a minute with the imbeciles in Congress is a mystery to me, but I'm glad he's there.  The cast is a who's who of people I wish were in a current presidential administration.

Producer/director Gary Riggs is our host and guide for the film, and if he doesn't have Morgan Spurlock's impish on-camera charm, he does a great job of moving things along and representing the American everyman whose earnings will be drained by the current situation, along with those of his children and grandchildren.  And if he's not the most natural on-camera talent, his off-camera talent shines with this exceptional film.  Also have to give props to the voice actors here (and whoever is responsible for casting them), especially for Obama and Reagan.  I really felt like I was watching and listening to "teachable moments" between the two (Animated Reagan wins that one hands-down).

Some quotes from the film:
  • Stephen Moore (Economist, Wall Street Journal) on trying to explain the concept of a trillion dollars to his eight year old son:  "I asked him who's the greatest basketball player in the world and he said LeBron James.  We looked it up and we found out LeBron James makes $40 million per year.  Then I asked, how many seasons would he have to play to make a trillion dollars.  You know what the answer is?  25,000 seasons."
  • Star Parker (Author/Founder, Center for Urban Renewal and Education and current candidate for California's 37th Congressional District) on how welfare deters participants from taking action to get off the dole: "I've lived on it, I know the rules...Do not work, do not save, do not get married and we'll keep you enslaved to this poverty plantation."
  • Mike Huckabee (former Governor of Arkansas) quoted Margaret Thatcher's famous comment about socialism: "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."
  • Alison Fraser (Economist, The Heritage Foundation): "We are fiscally hemorraghing and we need to do something about it."
  • President Ronald Reagan, on irresponsible government spending: "We could say that they spend like drunken sailors, but that would be unfair to drunken sailors, beause the sailors are spending their own money."
  • Pete Wilson on the same topic: "Trying to get them to stop spending is like trying to get an alcoholic to stop drinking."
  • Kate Obenshain (VP, Young America's Foundation and former Chairperson of the Republican Party of Virginia): "If you put the government in charge of the Sahara Desert, within five years there would be a shortage of sand."
  • Thad McCotter: "Well, it's a very short story.  The President told the Democratic congress he wanted to spend a trillion dollars with interest.  They agreed.  They didn't even take the time to read the bill; they passed it into law."
  • Moore again: "The stimulus plan is one of the great hoaxes of all time."
My favorite exchange from the animated segments was between Animated Ronald Reagan and Animated Barack Obama, after Reagan barges into the Oval Office:
Animated Reagan: Whatcha doing here?
Animated Obama: I'm redistributing the wealth.  I learned in school spreading the wealth is good for everyone.
Animated Reagan: Well, I learned from real life that it's not.  In fact, there's a word for it.  It's called "theft".
So what did I learn from I Want Your Money?  I feel like I have a better understanding of our current economic dilemma, how we got into this mess and that as overwhelming as it seems, there is a solution to our problem (my grateful thanks go to McCotter for the pep talk near the end of the film, I needed that).  I also learned that an animated Ronald Reagan would be a better President than the real-life Barack Obama.

Apparently the film is underperforming at the box office, which surprises me, considering how topical it is.  While it probably won't end up doing well in theaters, I think it has the potential to do better business on DVD.  In a way, the DVD format may actually work better for I Want Your Money.

One last thing: This film should be a front-runner for Best Documentary at Oscar time.  Yeah, I know it won't, given its material, its predominantly Republican/conservative cast and its criticism of the current administration's off-the-charts spending and stupidity.  I'm just saying it should be.  But it won't, and that to me speaks volumes about how disconnected the elite in this country are from We the People.  Which is one of the points of I Want Your Money.  Many members of our current congress may despise the Tea Party, but they have no one but themselves to blame for the movement's spontaneous conception.  It was their actions and disregard for the constituency they seem to forget they work for that prompted it.

I Want Your Money Official Site - I Want Your Money on imdb - I Want Your Money on Rotten Tomatoes - I Want Your Money on Facebook - I Want Your Money on Twitter - I Want Your Money on YouTube - I Want Your Money review on Big Hollywood - Ray Griggs on imdb

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Coping mechanism

Good news: Kings are tied for first in the Pacific Division and tied for second in the Western Conference.

Bad news: Drew Doughty was injured during last night's victory over Carolina.  Chatter on Twitter is that he suffered a concussion.  Sweet merciful God.

This is a huge loss for the Kings and Kings fans.  As one of those fans, I needed to do something drastic to cope.  So I just ordered this from
KingstoasterDoes your breakfast lack team spirit? Spice up the most important meal of the day with this Los Angeles Kings ProToast™ toaster from Pangea®. The retro-style appliance leaves the mark of the team logo on every piece of bread. It also features adjustable settings and can accommodate 2 slices of bread.

Yes, it's frivolous, but on the other hand, you only live once.  I should have just ordered it in the first place.  Plus, team toast makes Doughty heal faster.  Yes it does.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Twitter humor

A) Irony, B) Hypocrisy or C) Just plain cluelessness?   I'm calling B & C.


There is a dancing taco and dancing Taco Bell on the Live CocoCam as I type this

Go to Live CocoCam now.
It's been cloak & dagger at Conan HQ as we get ready for the premiere of "Conan" on TBS... UNTIL NOW. On October 20th, 2010, at 1pm EST/10am PST, we're shoving a camera in the stairwell of our comedy bunker and broadcasting the crazy -- LIVE for 24 hours! Who's gonna show up? Dancing tacos? What's gonna happen? Intern Twister? Tune in and find out, Internets!

They did a good job on the Taco Bell costume.  It looks so lifelike.  If they parked it outside in L.A. I'd probably drive up to it and start ordering.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dear L.A. Times, thanks for the info...sort of...

But even more importantly, thanks that I'm not dependent on you for helpful information for my morning commute: Man stuck under subway train in Hollywood.
A man trapped underneath a Red Line train in Hollywood was rescued Tuesday and taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries, authorities said.
How the man, said to be in his 50s, ended up on the tracks is still being investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
The man was lucky to have landed in the large gap between the tracks, otherwise his injuries would have been more serious than the bruises and contusions he suffered, said Luis Inzunza, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
A moving train "would have cut him in half," Inzunza said.
The track the train was on was shut down during the rescue operation. All trains north of the station were stopped, but those traveling south were still operating.
(Bold mine).

Dear L.A. Times: There are two subway stations in Hollywood.  Knowing which one the trains were stopped at (Hollywood & Highland or Vine) might be helpful information for commuters.  I'm not a "professional journalist" but even then, the first thing that jumped into my mind as I was reading this was, 1) I hope he's okay, and 2) WHICH STATION???

This info is kind of important.  And obvious.  Unless you just don't care or just can't be bothered to make the effort anymore.

I know this might sound bitchy and pointless, but as a lifelong Southern Californian I remember decades of the Times as being not only one of the greatest and most influential papers in the world, but also something that was part of my daily routine for as long as I can remember, up until a few years ago when it declined to the point where I canceled my subscription.

Last weekend I needed to pick up the Sunday Times for the first time in a couple years (it was for someone who lives outside the area) and going through it was just pitiful.  The legendary Sunday Calendar section is long gone.  The TV listings included were so anemic as to be pointless.  The Los Angeles Times Magazine is now either only available online or was missing from the paper I bought. 

It's no secret around town that the Times has been going downhill for years.  It's sad because for most of my life my day had to start with the L.A. Times, at least with certain sections of it (Calendar, Sports and Local).  I literally couldn't start functioning until I'd gone through the paper.  Now I look at the Times and think, "How the mighty have fallen".  The brilliant days of Paul Conrad and Jim Murray are long gone.

And if you still think I'm being overly critical, look at it this way - KNX 1070 got it.  Not only did they mention the station, they've got a picture of it as well.

When you've gone from being the paper of record to being out-reported by an AM radio station...well, you do the math. 
  VinestrescueSee?  Vine Street Station!  (Photo credit: CBS/KNX 1070)

Updated: In checking the link, I found that between the time I started writing this post and actually posted it, the Times article has been updated to indicate that this happened at "the Red Line station near Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street".  Better late than never, I guess.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Why I love my Twitter hockey peeps

Just found this on my Twitter stream, one right after the other:

PensSensThere are two sides to every story...

Looking like another rough season ahead for Ottawa.  Only one win in six games so far.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Someone give this guy an "Awesome Dad" award stat

I'm not a science geek, but this is just too cool for words.  A father-son team launch a weather balloon, camera and iphone into space:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ride along with Henny

Thanks to rider Peter Atkins and his helmet cam, we can all experience high-level equestrian competition:


Atkins donned the helmet cam as he guided HJ Hampton ("Henny" for short) through the cross country course at the recent World Equestrian Games.  While I'd never want to face jumps that size (those are some big, scary obstacles) and I have no idea how they memorize that course, it's still fun to do it virtually.  The enthusiasm that Atkins and Henny have for it is infectious.  What really blew me away was that Henny's ears are pricked for almost all of the run.  Horses usually have their ears back when they are galloping.

Henny (or Henry, as his name is frequently misspelled) even has his own website.  And yes, I broke down and ordered a DVD.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pepe LePew - the original Continental?

Did this (at about the 1:27 point):

Inspire this?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Television stuff

TNT orders a 1950's Hollywood-based noir pilot: Hollywood & Vine.  I'll watch that.  Hopefully it will fare better than Marlowe, which I was eagerly anticipating back in the day.

L.A. Times Magazine interviewed Dexter hisself, Michael C. Hall.  Personal favorite quote from the article:
Q: As an Angeleno now, is there a piece of Tinseltown iconography you love seeing?
A: Every time I take Fountain, I think of Bette Davis.
In case you don't know what he's talking about, he's referring to a quote from the legendary actress, who when asked if she had any advice for aspiring actors newly arrived in Hollywood, responded, "Take Fountain".  Fountain is a relatively small street in Hollywood that parallels (and serves as an alternate to) major streets like Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, Santa Monica, Melrose and Wilshire.  She was asked for advice for actors and came back with advice on how to skirt the bigger, more traffic-laden streets.  Best part: It's true.  I take Fountain all the time.


Speaking of Dexter, check out these awesome Dexter-inspired posters, which according to the post are going to be available for purchase on Showtime's site.  Tempting...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Introducing the most hated band in Los Angeles

A local band decided to bring attention to themselves this morning, not through their music, but with an outrageous stunt: They blocked three of the southbound Hollywood Freeway's four lanes with a huge truck and then climbed on top of the truck and launched into a performance.  When police arrived, one of the band members took off with the keys.  Since the truck was too big to be pushed out of lanes with police cruisers, cops had to summon a heavy duty tow truck to the scene, which took some time to happen.  All of this created a monster traffic jam on both sides of the freeway.  The southbound for obvious reasons, and the northbound due to lookie-loos.

Here's footage of the "band" being removed from the truck by LAFD and arrested by LAPD, because you know, LAFD and LAPD have nothing better to do than screw around with this crap:

And no, flying the flag or (claiming that you are) giving all proceeds from the sale of your song to charity doesn't exempt you from asshole status when you pull a stupid stunt like this.  Contrary to Hollywood lore, there is such a thing as bad publicity.  It's hard to find, but congratulations dumbasses, you found it!

Imperial Stars, you suck.  Way to instantly not endear yourself to Southern Californians?  Eff up their rush hour commute.  Also, if your music was any good, it would stand on its own and you wouldn't have to resort to a gimmick to get attention.  Go back to the OC and stay off our freeways, you idiots.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Back to the Kingdom

Kingsshield In honor of the Kings opening their 2010-2011 season, please enjoy this recent article on future Norris Trophy winner Drew Doughty:

Doughty and Simmonds are slobs.

Off to The Bro's favorite sports bar to take in all the Kingly action tonight!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

For your reading pleasure: A completely unhinged review of "Secretariat" in which the story of a racehorse is compared to Leni Riefenstahl-style master race propaganda

Secretariatmovie Seriously, I think this guy needs help.  Or maybe medication.  Possibly both: Andrew O'Hehir "reviews" Secretariat for Salon.  This is just from the first paragraph:
But the welcoming glow that imbues every corner of this nostalgic horse-racing yarn with rich, lambent color comes from within, as if the movie itself is ablaze with its own crazy sense of purpose. (Or as if someone just off-screen were burning a cross on the lawn.) its totality "Secretariat" is a work of creepy, half-hilarious master-race propaganda almost worthy of Leni Riefenstahl, and all the more effective because it presents as a family-friendly yarn about a nice lady and her horse.
Read the whole thing.  It's like getting a peek into the disturbed mind of someone who so despises anyone who doesn't march in lockstep (see what I did there!!!) with his way of thinking that he will take any opportunity to lash out, no matter how misplaced his anger is and no matter how inappropriate or unwarranted the venue.  Notice he couldn't even get through the article's subtitle without invoking the Tea Party, which has nothing to do with racism or the 1973 Triple Crown.  Trust me, I'm familiar with at least two of the three.

I'm surprised he didn't complain about Secretariat having so many white socks.

Secretariat_Derby Secretariat in his deceptive blue & white Meadow Stable colors, rushing to his next Klan meeting.  I wasn't able to find a picture of him in his usual white sheets.

I so want to call this and announce, "RANGERS SUCK!!!"

Via Slublog on Twitter, it's the Urban Speaker in NYC!  Call up and give New Yorkers a piece of your mind!  From the link:
This is the Urban Speaker: a smartphone attached to a loud speaker attached to a traffic sign. Tomorrow, when it goes live in NYC, you'll be able to call it up and announce whatever's on your mind. I smell mischief!
This can only end in tears.  Tears of joy, that is!

That number again? (979) 997-3041.

So tempting, especially with the season just starting.



Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kings hockey is almost upon us!

The 2010-2011 NHL season begins Thursday, with the Kings debuting Saturday night at Vancouver.

The Kings opening night roster has been set.  The full roster is here.

Jonathan Bernier will remain in L.A. as Jonathan Quick's backup.  It's going to be a hell of a battle between those two for the starting job in goal long-term.  This means last year's backup, Erik Ersberg, is odd man out.  Ersberg has been assigned to Manchester but per Hammond, he may look into playing in Europe.

Yahoo Sports put the Kings on their list of 10 Stanley Cup contenders.  ESPN goes one up on them and puts the Kings in their top 5:
I caught two playoff games at Staples Center this past spring and thought the roof was going to collapse. It's amazing to see hockey back in L.A., and this team shouldn't disappoint. Drew Doughty, Willie Mitchell, Rob Scuderi and Jack Johnson as your top four on D? Hello!
The Quacks are at #24 out of 30 teams.  Heh.

The Bleacher Report breaks down the Kings:
With a year more of maturity for the baby Kings, another playoff berth seems like a lock. Watching such a fast, scrappy team each night could prove to be the most entertaining thing in the long run.
Drew Doughty, Superstar.  Scroll down to #8:
...Drew Doughty is the consensus favorite to be that next best defenseman in the league. A finalist for the Norris in June, Doughty will be able to build off of a breakout year that saw him score 13 times and log 25 minutes a night for the Kings. Factor in the two weeks he spent surrounded by experienced, veteran makeup of Team Canada during their gold medal run and Doughty, still just 20 years old, is poised to become the second youngest Norris winner behind Bobby Orr.
Some observations on the Kings upcoming season:
  • Number of players on the Kings roster age 30 and over: 5 (Michal Handzus, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Ryan Smyth, Willie Mitchell and Rob Scuderi).  Smyth is the senior King at 34.
  • Number of players on the Kings roster who need fake IDs to buy brewskis: 6 (Drew Doughty, Brayden Schenn, Colton Teubert, Kyle Clifford, Andrei Loktionov and Viatcheslav Voynov).  Schenn, born 8/22/91, is the baby King.
  • First game: Saturday, October 9 at Vancouver Canuckleheads.
  • First home game: Tuesday, October 12 vs Atlanta Thrashers.
  • Final game of season: Saturday, April 9 vs the Mighty Quacks.
  • Longest homestand: 8 games, December 30 through January 15 (vs Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Preddies, Columbus BJ's, Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Blues and Edmonton Oilers).
  • Longest road trip: 10 games, February 1 through February 23 (at Minnesota Wild, Edmonton, Calgary Flames, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, Philly, BJ's again, NY Rangers, NY Islanders, Anaheim Duckies).
  • Defending Stanley Cup champs at the Staples Center: Saturday, November 27 and Monday, January 3.
  • Sid the Kid and Malkin at Staples Center: Zip, zilch, nada.
  • Game at which Ilya Kovalchuk will be booed every second he's on the Staples Center ice: Saturday, October 30.
  • Game at which I will be in the 6th row, dead center: Sunday, December 26 vs the Quacks.
  • All-Star Game: Sunday, January 30 in Raleigh, NC (home of the Whalercanes).
I am so excited about this season.  GO KINGS GO!!!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Expo a no-go

I've decided to pass on the Screenwriting Expo this year.  It just doesn't seem like there are as many classes and speakers as previous years.  I found several classes I wanted to take, but not enough to fill three days.  Also, they had previously announced David Milch as a guest, which for me would have been reason enough to attend, but he never came up on the schedule.  There were no must-sees for me this year (unlike last year when guests included John Cleese and William Goldman, CSI creator Anthony Zuiker, and James Manos, Jr., who adapted Dexter for television).  I'm not sure if it's just me or if the Expo is just having a weak year.  Either way, it's kind of a shame, because when I enjoy the Expo I really, really enjoy the Expo and I've been looking forward to it all year.

An additional bummer in all this is that because I planned on attending the Expo, I passed up on attending SledgeFest 2010, which is now sold out.  A celebration of the hysterically funny 1980's TV series Sledge Hammer, it's taking place this weekend at the Silent Movie Theater on Fairfax.  Although the website says it's the first and last fest, I'm hoping that since they sold out, they'll think about having another one in the future.

In writing competition news, the Scriptapalooza TV deadline (extended to October 4) has come and gone without me finishing my White Collar spec.  I'm making progress that I'm happy with, but haven't come up with the big "gotcha" moment to resolve it.  It'll come.  Next deadline is December 31 for the Script Pipeline (formerly Script P.I.M.P.) competition.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Star Wars gets the silent treatment

The "Luke, I am your father" scene re-imagined as a silent film.  This is brilliant and hilarious:

H/T to AoSHQ.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Another beautiful day in L.A.

After a brutal, record-breaking Monday, the past few days have been absolutely gorgeous.

This is the view from my sliding glass door this morning:


Yep.  Beeeeoooootiful!!!